Global outrage over killing of Palestinian civilians by Israel

Special Global outrage over killing of Palestinian civilians by Israel
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An Israeli settler argues with a soldier in the town of Huwara near Nablus in the occupied West Bank on February 27, 2023. (AFP)
Special Global outrage over killing of Palestinian civilians by Israel
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Scores of Israeli settlers went on a violent rampage in the northern West Bank, setting cars and homes on fire after two settlers were killed by a Palestinian gunman. (AP Photo)
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Updated 28 February 2023

Global outrage over killing of Palestinian civilians by Israel

Global outrage over killing of Palestinian civilians by Israel
  • 350 injured in tear gas attacks by Israeli military
  • France urges all sides to to ‘avoid fueling the violence’

RAMALLAH: France, Germany and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Monday expressed grave concern at the violence against Palestinian civilians by Israeli troops and settlers.

The lack of punishment for Israel’s actions had encouraged it to continue carrying out “crimes” in Palestine, OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha said.

France condemned the attacks by settlers in the occupied West Bank and said “violence against Palestinian civilians is unacceptable.”

Germany said there was an urgent need to ensure the tense situation in the region was not further inflamed.

Taha made his comments during an extraordinary meeting of the OIC’s executive committee in Jeddah, called to discuss the recent escalation of violence in the West Bank city of Nablus and throughout Palestine that has claimed 11 Palestinian lives and seen dozens more injured.

“Israel continues to commit crimes and perpetuates its colonial settlement regime on Palestinian land in the presence of the international community,” he said.

His statement came as Palestinians counted the cost of the violence and arson attacks by Israeli settlers. Dozens of homes and cars were set ablaze in the northern town of Huwara after a day of Israeli-Palestinian talks in Jordan aimed at quelling a surge in violence in the Palestinian territory.

More than 350 Palestinians were injured, most suffering from tear gas inhalation, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Sameh Aqtash, 37, was shot dead during an attack by Israeli forces and settlers on the nearby village of Za’atara.

Wajeh Odeh, a member of Huwara municipality, said 30 houses were burned and damaged while more than 100 cars were torched.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he held the Israeli government responsible for “the terrorist acts carried out by settlers under the protection of the occupation forces.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that there was a risk that the situation in the West Bank could “deteriorate out of control” and called on all parties “to avoid fueling the violence and to contribute to de-escalation.”

It added that the Israeli government “as part of its responsibility as an occupying power” needed to protect Palestinian civilians and find the perpetrators of the arson attacks.

A spokesperson for Germany’s Foreign Ministry said Berlin welcomed the talks in Jordan and it was “urgent that agreements to de-escalate the situation are respected, and that everyone now works to prevent the already very tense situation from becoming further inflamed.”

Sunday’s incident has sent a wave of shock, anxiety and terror among the villagers.

Ghassan Daglas, an official in charge of the settlement affairs in the northern West Bank, told Arab News that the settlers’ rampage in Huwara and other areas "is very dangerous.”

Daglas described the onslaught as a “tsunami,” adding that the situation “is difficult, but the citizens’ morale is high.”

He said that 295 attacks were monitored in the towns of Huwara, Za’tara, Asira Al-Qibliya and Burin in the Nablus region.

He said the 17 homes and a vast number of cars were burned in addition to severe damage to the streets and roadsides, as well as shops.

Taysir Nasrallah, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council in Nablus, told Arab News that the Israeli army and the settlers acted in tandem while attacking the Palestinians. “What the Israeli military cannot do is being done by the settlers.”